Here are the crucial details you must understand before purchasing CBD for your psoriasis. Understand the benefits and trade-offs – New updates for 2022. CBD is growing in popularity, and there are many over-the-counter skin products infused with CBD. While CBD can provide some pain relief to psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, experts say there needs to be more research.
CBD For Psoriasis
Perhaps you’ve read one of the many stories of cannabidiol (CBD) oil helping people with psoriasis treat their condition – and the astonishing before and after results they achieved.
And you may be thinking, can CBD really treat psoriasis?
The answer is, yes.
CBD has been helping psoriasis patients ease their symptoms and reduce flare-ups with great success.
Want to know the best CBD oil for treating psoriasis?
We’ll share our number one pick in just a minute. (Can’t wait?)
But first, why is CBD so therapeutically beneficial?
CBD is capable of treating a wide range of conditions because of the way it interacts with the endocannabinoid system.
This specialized internal system is responsible for regulating physiological processes. It’s made up of receptors found throughout the brain and body known as CB1 and CB2.
The CB1 receptors are primarily found in the nervous system and connective tissue. And the immune system, blood, and endocrine glands are where you’ll find CB2 receptors.
When cannabinoids like CBD interact with these CB1 and CB2 receptors, therapeutic effects are produced.
Cannabinoids are also naturally produced in the body.
That’s right; the human body naturally produces cannabinoids that are similar to both THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD.
In fact, research has suggested that “runners high” – which is commonly attributed to endorphins, may actually be a result of self-produced cannabinoids.
Our bodies are literally made to be compatible with and derive benefits from cannabinoids.
And when it comes to psoriasis…
CBD has been showing remarkable healing properties for a number of common autoimmune disorders – psoriasis among them.
Psoriasis is a result of T cells mistakenly identifying healthy skin cells as a threat. But research suggests that CBD may be capable of managing the activity of these T cells before they trigger a response.
Furthermore, CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties regulate the immune system, and clinical data concluded that cannabis reduces psoriasis flare-ups by activating the CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system.
CBD may soon become the number one go-to treatment to ease the symptoms of psoriasis.
And that’s not all…
Three other cannabinoids are also revealing their potential to treat psoriasis by inhibiting overactive T cells. Keep an eye on these cannabinoids as research continues to evolve — tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabinol (CBN) and cannabigerol (CBG).
There’s more good news, too…
CBD Treats Conditions Related to Psoriasis
While psoriasis is mainly associated with the itchy red rash it causes; unfortunately, additional associated conditions often develop too. Luckily, CBD offers therapeutic benefits that can help with many of those as well.
Consider this —
If you have psoriasis, you are at risk for developing these associated conditions too – but CBD can help:
An estimated 30% of individuals with psoriasis also develop psoriatic arthritis. Early stage symptoms include joint pain and stiffness, accompanied by swelling and warmth. Joints throughout the body, including fingers, toes, knees, hands, and feet are all susceptible to pain and swelling. The symptoms resemble those of rheumatoid arthritis, which CBD is also effective at treating. CBD reduces pain and the inflammation that causes swelling.
Surprisingly, psoriasis is linked to a number of eye conditions like conjunctivitis. With the overprescription of antibiotics for conjunctivitis a real concern, CBD is simply a better treatment option. CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties promote healing and help relieve pain and itchiness.
Digestive Problems (IBS, Chron’s, Celiac, Leaky Gut Syndrome)
While more research is needed, early evidence suggests that a bacterial imbalance in the gut may help cause inflammatory diseases like psoriasis and eczema. So, it makes sense that people with psoriasis often experience digestive problems like IBS, Crohn’s, Celiac, and Leaky Gut Syndrome. The good news? CBD reduces inflammation and supports healthy digestive functions. It is a natural, safe treatment option for all these conditions.
Type 2 Diabetes
People with severe psoriasis have a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes. CBD has been shown to be beneficial to people with diabetes, and a clear link has been established between healthy blood sugar levels and the regular use of cannabis.
High Blood Pressure
The most severe cases of psoriasis have also been linked to high blood pressure. In research, CBD has been shown to relax vascular walls and cause a reduction in blood pressure. This discovery is fueling further research into how CBD can be used to control high blood pressure.
The risk of developing cardiovascular disease is twice as high for people with psoriasis. CBD, because of its ability to reduce inflammation and high blood pressure, is showing promise as a treatment for cardiovascular disease.
Psoriasis has been linked to an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease. It is believed that chronic inflammation of neuronal tissue is the cause. For many, CBD has been effective at easing symptoms of the disease. It can reduce pain and tremors and improve sleep.
Often, shame and anxiety accompany the pain and discomfort of psoriasis. These feelings can lead to low self-esteem and depression. In addition, inflammation further contributes to the onset of depression by triggering chemical responses that influence mood. In addition to its ability to reduce inflammation, CBD has neuroprotective properties that help fight depression.
All of this means…
While it’s unfortunate that these additional conditions tend to be associated with psoriasis, it is lucky that CBD is proving to be an effective treatment for all of them.
And the best way to experience these CBD benefits?
Treat Psoriasis & Related Conditions With CBD Oil
The easiest way to treat psoriasis and related conditions is with a high-quality CBD oil.
One of the main benefits to using a high-quality CBD oil is you can choose to use it topically, take it internally, or both. This dual functionality makes CBD oil the ideal choice for many. And each method of consuming this versatile cannabinoid will offer a range of benefits.
CBD Oil Used Topically
Many skin care brands have begun to embrace the beneficial properties of CBD. Salves, balms, and lotions infused with CBD are quickly becoming established in the marketplace. And for people with psoriasis, that’s good news.
But there’s another trend happening too.
Many people are choosing to use high-quality CBD oil directly on their skin to treat small problem areas. And for larger areas, CBD mixed with a carrier oil like coconut, argan, or hemp oil is the perfect solution.
CBD Oil Taken Internally
The best way to take CBD internally is by taking it sublingually, meaning under the tongue.
Holding CBD under the tongue for a minute or two allows it to penetrate the sublingual gland and enter the bloodstream. CBD taken this way has a bioavailability of up to 35%.
And that’s important because…
Bioavailability refers to how much of the cannabinoid is available for the body to absorb.
Edibles have a lower bioavailability of around 20% (on the high end) because harsh digestive chemicals destroy cannabinoids before they reach the bloodstream.
Smoking and vaping, despite some drawbacks, provide a higher CBD bioavailability – upwards of 60%, because it is absorbed into the blood quickly through the lungs.
So, what’s the right option for you?
Our Top Pick: CBD Oil to Treat Psoriasis
We have high standards for CBD products. And when it comes to treating psoriasis with CBD, there’s one brand we recommend above all others: NuLeaf Naturals.
Why do we recommend this product?
Simple. It’s high quality.
This NuLeaf Naturals CBD oil is 100% organically grown in Colorado. The company uses top-notch extraction methods and takes extra care to preserve the delicate, beneficial terpenes.
One of the purest products on the market.
This is a whole plant or full-spectrum oil which means you’ll benefit from the synergistic nature of all the cannabis compounds present in the plant.
But here’s something you should know…
Here’s Who Shouldn’t Use This CBD Oil
Many people prefer full-spectrum oils as research suggests they may have more therapeutic benefits. If, however, you live in a state with a zero-tolerance policy for THC, this may not be the product for you.
Full-spectrum CBD oils may contain trace amounts of THC. Not enough to have psychoactive effects, but enough to cause you to fail a drug test.
Ready to get started?
How Much CBD Should You Take?
This may take a little experimentation, but the good news is, to date, no serious side effects have ever been reported from taking “too much” CBD.
That said, start slow. Try to find the lowest dose you need to get the results you want.
To find the right dose, a number of factors should be considered. These include age, weight, the severity of symptoms, and prior experience with CBD.
CBD for Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis: What You Should Know
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of the two well-known chemical compounds or cannabinoids found in marijuana or hemp. But unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), it doesn’t give you a “high.” Instead, it has a mellowing effect with pain relief. Lately, CBD has been gaining popularity and trending in the health wellness sector with a wide variety of creams, lotions, oils, vape pens, or edibles like gummies or candies.
The internet is littered with information that claim CBD as a natural treatment option for a host of conditions including skin-related disorders like psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis.
Reported health benefits include relief for:
But does it work as well as claimed? Jim Snedden says that for him, it did.
Snedden, 55, was living in Connecticut in 2005 when he first noticed his legs were very dry and itchy. Soon, the itch migrated to his hands.
“I was waking up all bloody because I was digging at it,” recalls Snedden who now lives in Goshen, NY.
In 2007, after he moved to upstate New York, he had another severe flare-up. Initially, he chalked it up to change in water, but it was confirmed as psoriasis. By 2012, he had developed psoriatic arthritis (PsA). Knowing it was a “destructive disease,” Snedden asked his doctor to put him on a biologic, a powerful, genetically engineered drug that’s designed to lower or stop inflammation in your body. It kept his psoriasis symptoms at bay. But the deep, bone-aching pain from the arthritis lingered.
“I have days where I can’t pick things up. I’m dropping things all day because my fingers hurt really bad,” Snedden says.
For years, he took prescription opiates to manage the pain, but they stopped working. In 2018, his daughter, who has fibromyalgia, a condition that causes pain all over the body, urged Snedden to look into cannabidiol (or CBD) as an option for pain relief.
He did. “It did a lot of good,” Snedden says. He’s cut out all the opiates from his treatment regimen.
Does CBD Really Work for Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis?
Doctors and other experts who are keeping a close eye on the growing demand for CBD say it’s hard to know for sure.
“While there are some theories to suggest CBD may have benefits for psoriasis, there is a complete absence of rigorous trials in people to prove their safety and efficacy for treatment of psoriasis,” says Joel Gelfand, MD, in an email to WebMD. Gelfand is a professor of dermatology and director of the Psoriasis and Phototherapy Treatment Center at University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.
However, Adam Friedman, MD, professor and chair of dermatology at George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, DC, says there’s “enough mechanistic data” to argue the potential benefits of CBD for psoriasis or PsA.
Friedman explains that when CBD enters your body, it binds with several receptors including receptors called endocannabinoids that affect pain, itch, and inflammation. There are two types of receptors in the endocannabinoid system: cannabinoid type 1 and 2 (CB1 and CB2). THC binds with CB1 located in the central nervous system, which gives you the fuzzy feels when you take marijuana, and CBD binds with CB2.
When CBD binds with the CB2 receptor found on immune cells throughout the body, it has effects on the body’s immune function.
“When CBD binds to various receptors, CB2 and others, from an immune perspective, what it does is it induces inflammation resolution,” Friedman says. Meaning it activates signals in your body that makes the cells that cause inflammation to change and subside.
In terms of psoriasis, according to Friedman, CBD can reportedly stimulate the secretion and recruitment of cells that are important to remove skin cell debris and to allow your skin to mature and heal properly.
In a 2019 study, 20 participants with psoriasis or atopic dermatitis, another skin-related disorder, were asked to apply a CBD ointment on affected skin twice daily for three months. The CBD ointment, without any THC, was able to improve skin hydration and elasticity. It also improved participants’ quality-of-life when it was measured against the Psoriasis Area Severity Index.
In a recent 2020 study, 50 people with scalp psoriasis or seborrheic dermatitis, a type of condition that causes dry, flaky skin mostly on the scalp, were asked to use a shampoo with CBD for 2 weeks. The shampoo was able to reduce itching, burning, the severity of the inflammation in the scalp.
But Friedman notes that there’s a lot more research to be done to see the full extent of CBD’s impact on your body. “Our understanding of the endocannabinoid system is incomplete.”
Moreover, Friedman says when it comes to cannabinoids like CBD and THC, if you’re buying over-the-counter creams and other topics products infused with it, it may not be getting absorbed properly through the skin barrier. This is because “cannabinoids are lipophilic.” This means they are likely to stay in a fatty environment — something your top layer of skin has plenty of. So if you apply a cream on your skin, only “a fraction of it” may actually get through.
“Purposeful delivery [of CBD] is what you have to think about versus asking ‘do cannabinoids work?’” Friedman says.
CBD and Potential Risk
Studies done on CBD to date are not conclusive. The lack of tests on safety and effectiveness is also because of the confusion around government regulations around CBD. It’s made it hard to study the plant and its potential use, risks, and benefits. Laws for legal access to CBD differ from state to state. So there are a lot of CBD-infused products on the market that are not regulated by the FDA.
“Due to current lack of FDA regulation for CBD, retailers may not adequately disclose the amount of THC in their products, potentially resulting in a positive drug screen. Also, CBD products are available for purchase online with little consumer safety oversight and can contain unknown and potentially dangerous elements,” says James Ralston, MD, a dermatologist at Dermatology Center of McKinney in Texas.
In fact, the FDA has served citations to several companies selling CBD-infused products or food supplements over safety concerns.
In 2017, one study looked at 84 CBD products manufactured by 31 companies and sold online in 2016, to see how accurate the labels were about the ingredients. Turns out, nearly 43% of the products were under-labeled, meaning they had 10% more CBD that advertised. Around 26% of the products were over-labeled, meaning they had 10% less CBD than advertised. Only about 31% of the products were accurately labeled.
Cynthia Covert, 52, from Moreno Valley, CA has been living with PsA since 2003. Covert has tried both THC and CBD products. Both have helped her manage her pain to a certain degree. But CBD products, she says, have too much hype surrounding it. She blames the market that’s flooded with CBD products to meet the growing demands.
“When it comes to CBD alone, I think it’s way too much hype, and it really does disappoint me. Because I know everyone just wants to make money off it, whether it’s the person who’s affiliated with it, or a salesman for it.”
Besides inaccurate ingredients on CBD products, research shows that there may be potential side effects to CBD use. It can:
- Cause liver injury
- Interact with other medications that can cause serious side effects
- Lead to physical injuries if mixed with alcohol or other drugs that can alter your brain activity
- Affect fertility in men or male offspring of women exposed to CBD as seen in some animal studies
There are also a lot of unanswered questions that scientists are trying to figure out when it comes to CBD use. This includes:
- What happens if you take CBD daily for a long period of time?
- How much is too much CBD?
- Can different methods or types of CBD such as creams, gummies, oils, etc., affect you differently?
- What effect does CBD have on the developing brain of children?
- How does CBD affect a fetus or a breastfed newborn?
Things You Should Be Aware of Before You Try CBD
If you’re thinking of trying CBD for relief from psoriasis or PsA, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
Before you try, talk to your doctor about it. Snedden spoke to his neurologist, a doctor who specializes in nerves, brain, and the spinal cord before he decided to try CBD. He also gets frequent migraines and has three herniated discs. He was worried about some of his prescription drugs mixing with CBD.
“Talk to your doctor first because anything can interact with anything,” Snedden says.
Do your research beforehand. Friedman says he urges anyone who wants to try CBD to first do their “due diligence” in researching all they can about CBD and the different brands and methods.
“I think the easiest is to go on Google or whatever search engine and type in Department of Health medical cannabis program,” Friedman says especially if cannabis is legalized in your state.
If you’re going to buy CBD products online or over the counter at your local drugstore, research and write down a few things to check on the labels before you buy it. Once you buy it, Friedman says it’s always a good idea to test it out.
“I typically tell patients to start by doing a test site on a small area for a couple days to make sure that it doesn’t cause irritation or allergic reaction. If they tolerate it, then they can apply to affected areas twice a day, ongoing,” Friedman says.
Start low and slow. When Snedden first started using CBD, it was a bit of a learning curve, especially with what type to use and how much. He researched online on what types or brands would work best. He tried three different types before he found that worked best for him — a tincture, an alcohol-based liquid extract that you put under your tongue.
“I started with one drop and I wasn’t really noticing anything. So I decided to take two drops and it was fine. I started to sleep through the night, I was able to relax. A lot of the pain was gone,” Snedden says.
It’s important to remember that each person reacts different to CBD so it’s always good to start small and see how it goes.
Manage your expectations. CBD isn’t the same as THC. It won’t deliver quick results and it’s definitely not a “cure all.” You may have to continue your regular treatments for psoriasis and PsA and compliment it with approved CBD products to help with the pain.
“If you’re going to use CBD, you can’t go in with the expectation that it’s going to relieve all your pain. And that it’s not going to relieve your pain as soon as possible like an opiate would or smoking a joint. What you are going to get though is a wonderful muscle relaxation,” Covert says. “You’re going to sleep better [and] you’re going to be less stressed. All those things over time will lead to a decrease in pain.”
However, if you notice any allergic reaction or side effects on your skin after CBD use, tell your doctor about it.
National Psoriasis Foundation: “CBD for Psoriasis and PsA.”
FDA: “What You Need to Know (And What We’re Working to Find Out) About Products Containing Cannabis or Cannabis-derived Compounds, Including CBD,” “FDA warns 15 companies for illegally selling various products containing cannabidiol as agency details safety concerns,” “FDA Warns Companies Illegally Selling Over-the-Counter CBD Products for Pain Relief.”
Karger Journals: “Efficacy and Tolerability of a Shampoo Containing Broad-Spectrum Cannabidiol in the Treatment of Scalp Inflammation in Patients with Mild to Moderate Scalp Psoriasis or Seborrheic Dermatitis.”
La Clinica Therapeutica: “Anandamide Suppresses Proinflammatory T Cell Responses In Vitro through Type-1 Cannabinoid Receptor-Mediated mTOR Inhibition in Human Keratinocytes.”
JAMA: “Labeling Accuracy of Cannabidiol Extracts Sold Online.”
Cedars Sinai: “CBD: What You Need to Know Before You Try.”
Adam Friedman, MD, professor and chair of dermatology, George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences.
Joel Gelfand, MD, professor of dermatology and of epidemiology; vice chair of clinical research and medical director, Dermatology Clinical Studies Unit; director, Psoriasis and Phototherapy Treatment Center, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.